The odds of Boston earning a win against a hot Orlando Magic team on Monday night did not look good. The Celtics being called banged up would be the understatement of the year. The team was playing without Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus, Keyon Dooling, and Chris Wilcox. However, Boston knew that they needed this win. In order to pick up this win someone needed to step up and provide the spark. Avery Bradley was that spark on the defensive end of the floor that propelled Boston to a record setting defensive night that saw them cruise to a 87 to 56 demolishing of Orlando.
Avery Bradley set the tone the entire night by playing like a pit bull against Jameer Nelson. Nelson was eaten alive by Bradley as the Magic point guard looked unable to have any answers for Bradley’s tight defense. Jameer could not get off any shots as Bradley looked as if he was glued to him. Bradley would not even let Jameer anywhere near the paint as he would beat him to the spot all night and keep him in front of him. Bradley even had time to help defend n Dwight Howard because he used his blazing speed to make sure he got back in time to bother Jameer every time. His full court press also made life miserable for the Magic as he would force turnovers and even eight second violations. Nelson’s stat line of as many points (5) as turnovers (5) showed just how well Bradley did his job.
The rest of the team followed suit. It was as if they were infected by Bradley’s energy play. Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal would bear down on Dwight Howard after he got off to a hot start. Howard only scored three points the rest of the way after scoring fourteen in the first. Paul Pierce also played solid defense by holding Jason Richardson to only five points. Brandon Bass also did a nice job taking out both Ryan Anderson and Glen Davis at times. Even guys like Sasha Pavlovic, E’Twaun Moore, and Marquis Daniels did an amazing job running and bothering the Magic shooters on the perimeter.
The results of this great defense are in the numbers. They allowed only 56 points for the entire game. Orlando only recorded 16 field goals. They shot only 24.6 percent from the floor. They scored only twenty points in the entire second half. They only had 16 points in the paint for the entire game even though Dwight Howard played 35 minutes. They shot only 25 percent from three point range despite Ryan Anderson being a three point machine. These numbers are absurd to the point they look like a video game stat line.
The Celtics needed a win. They were without some serious fire power and defense was their only hope. Avery Bradley helped lead the way. If the defense continues to play this solid, the winning will return to Boston sooner than later. Judging by the way Bradley and company played tonight, Bosotn’s troubles might be over. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!!